Tom English

BBC Scotland's chief sports writer

Analysis and opinion from BBC Scotland's chief sports writer

About Tom

Tom is BBC Scotland's chief sports writer. He is a... Read more about Tom English six-time winner of the Scottish feature writer of the year award and has twice won Rugby Book of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards. His columns and radio documentaries have been short-listed for media prizes in Scotland and the UK.

He has been a sports journalist for 25 years, the highlight being an afternoon spent with former world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier. He joined BBC Scotland in 2014 and writes and broadcasts on many different sports.

Fraser Brown scored Scotland's second try against Fiji

'Brawn and brains on show as Scotland demolish Fiji'

Read full article on Scotland 54-17 Fiji: Hookers continue prominent attacking role for Townsend

It's very possible that Scotland shredded the record books when they put Fiji away in an eight-try, 54-point rout that few at Murrayfield, or anywhere else for that matter, would have been expecting.

When the excellent Fraser Brown scored early in the Test he continued a run of try-scoring from Scotland's hookers that might have broken new ground in the international arena. It certainly obliterated anything we have seen from a Scottish team, that's for certain.

Fiji v Scotland

Painful memories of ferocious Fiji keep Scots on guard

Read full article on Scotland v Fiji: Ferocious visitors mind hosts not to rest stars in Autumn Test

The last time Scotland played Fiji was two summers ago in Suva, and unless you've been hiding under a rock - probably the best place to be on the day - then you'll know how it ended.

Or how it began. The local band's rendition of Flower of Scotland that afternoon was so out of tune that it could have served as a portent of doom for the visitors.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend will take 31 players to Japan next year

'Scotland's World Cup countdown starts in Cardiff'

Read full article on Scotland's autumn Tests signal start of scramble for World Cup places

Before the howitzer defeat to the USA in June, Gregor Townsend was asked if he'd ever attempted, in a quiet moment, to pick a 31-man squad for the World Cup.

The Scotland head coach smiled and said he had done it a number of times. He said he had multiple versions of the chosen ones. Players come in and players go out on a monthly basis, he pointed out. It was all a bit of fun.

Edinburgh derby fans

'Grim Tynecastle scenes proved folly of booze ban repeal'

Read full article on 'Edinburgh derby scenes proved folly of booze ban repeal'

Let's see. In the space of a month we have had an assistant referee being hit by a coin thrown by a Rangers fan in their Scottish Premiership game against Livingston. We had an elderly woman being hit by a bottle thrown by a fan - believed to be a Hearts supporter - outside the League Cup semi-final at Murrayfield. And now we have coins and cigarette lighters and punches and God-know's-what-else thrown at players and management and officials at Tynecastle during the first Edinburgh derby of the season.

What we also have is the chief executive of the Scottish FA, Ian Maxwell, giving credence to the reintroduction of the sale of alcohol inside football stadiums.

Celtic celebrate

'Celtic imperious, Dons prove a point & Gerrard's reality check'

Read full article on League Cup semi-finals: Dons prove a point, Gerrard's reality check, Celtic imperious, Hearts derailed

In two cities on either side of the country, 107,347 people turned up to watch the Scottish League Cup semi-finals on Sunday, more than 60,000 at Murrayfield for Celtic and Hearts and more than 46,000 at Hampden for Aberdeen and Rangers.

The pre-match hype was high and the numbers on the day higher still. It all looked terrific, particularly Murrayfield, where Scottish football recorded its biggest crowd for a domestic game in almost 30 years.

Hearts

From forgetting seats to filling them - can Hearts' remarkable year finish with a final?

Read full article on Scottish League Cup semi-finals: Can Hearts upset holders Celtic?

Given the feelgood factor at Hearts right now - their team flying, their extraordinary Foundation recording fan contributions of £8m, their presence at Murrayfield on Sunday set to hit 30,000 or as near to it as makes no difference - it's no harm to reflect on the last 12 months in the life of the Jambos.

A little snapshot from this time last year. A manager had been sacked, Ian Cathro finally losing his job for failing to find a way of beating Peterhead or Dunfermline in the League Cup. He was replaced by director of football Craig Levein who, on an hourly basis, was getting pelted with flak from all sides.

Sean Maitland in action for Saracens against Clermont

Maitland ready for raucous return to Scotstoun

Read full article on Glasgow v Saracens: Sean Maitland ready for raucous return to Scotstoun

Sean Maitland says the chances of his Saracens team taking Glasgow lightly in the Champions Cup on Sunday are zero, or "less than zero" as the Scotland wing puts it.

Maitland reports a sharper edge in training this week on account of Europe, a greater intensity, a keener focus. Given that Saracens have started their Premiership season with six wins from six and have scored 29 tries into the bargain then any upping of standards from the English champions will only serve to make Glasgow's job of taking them down all the more gargantuan.

Montpellier's Aaron Cruden and Nemani Nadolo

'Only best Edinburgh display will beat Montpellier'

Read full article on Edinburgh need 'best performance' under Richard Cockerill to beat injury-hit Montpellier

For months now, the sound of a reverberating thud has been heard almost on a loop in the rugby quarters of the beautiful city of Montpellier in the south of France. Big name after big name has hit the floor injured. They've been falling not like flies but like buffalo.

The giant, prolific and positively terrifying Fijian wings, Nemani Nadolo and Timoci Nagusa, both out of the team to play Edinburgh in the opening round of the Heineken Champions Cup at the Altrad Stadium on Saturday.

Alex McLeish

'McLeish invites ridicule & rancour with Israel pap'

Read full article on Israel 2-1 Scotland: Ridicule & rancour as Alex McLeish counts cost of defeat

In the wake of such a putrid performance in Israel, the Scotland fans could really have done without manager Alex McLeish's "game of two halves" pap.

In saying that his team "kept possession well" in a first half where the Scots' Nations League hosts had 12 attempts on goal due, in part, to the visitors' catastrophic inability to keep hold of the ball, McLeish invited ridicule and rancour.

Alfredo Morelos

The two faces of Alfredo Morelos: Can Gerrard tame Rangers' El Buffalo?

Read full article on Alfredo Morelos: Can Steven Gerrard tame Rangers' El Buffalo?

When you sit down to research Alfredo Morelos' brief time in Scottish football, you'd want to clear your day before you do it. The Rangers forward is fast approaching the one-time runaway leader, Scott Brown, as the most talked-about guy in the domestic game.

Morelos, only 22 and already the subject of bids from China and France since joining from HJK Helsinki in summer 2017, evokes extreme opinions.